If there is an all-year-round trainer on our books it has to be Ian Williams. Son of a trainer, Billy Williams, he initially showed little sign of wanting to follow the parental profession but then aged 18 had second thoughts and joined Jenny Pitman as assistant in her heyday. Then, following further spells with Martin Pipe and Francois Doumen, Ian felt ready for the fray. The latest jumping campaign had already been uncharacteristically frustrating for the Alvechurch handler when it was summarily ended by Covid 19.
Often over the previous two decades seasonal jump scores of around 50 were commonplace. Even as recently as 2016-7 he achieved 46, but the emphasis had been gradually turning to the Flat. In 2018, Ian won a best-yet 66 races and just over £1 million in prizes. In the latest full season the tally was 53 and almost £800k, with handicap wins the staple currency. Time To Study collected a valuable handicap at Haydock in the late spring and no doubt there will be the usual carefully-selected squadron of Williams runners back at Chester once racing resumes.
He won the Chester Cup in 2018 with Magic Circle for his principal owner Marwan Koukash. What was impressive was that this was the gelding’s first run since joining the trainer from Ralph Beckett and not content with winning that handicap by six lengths, he followed by the same margin against much stronger opposition later the same month at Sandown in the Group 2 Henry II Stakes. Whether it’s with hurdlers or chasers, stayers or sprinters like the durable Sir Maximilian, Ian Williams can deal with them all.